As we celebrate the nation’s 243rd birthday this week (and the 240th anniversary year of the Constitution), Energy Ink felt it appropriate to celebrate the 160 year history of oil in the U.S. with a brief overview of some key moments. The first oil well in the U.S. began producing in August of 1959 at Titusville, PA and produced 25 barrels a day.
For the rest of the history fill-in, take some time and scan the infographic, but below are some early highlights.
The U.S. petroleum industry began with the first application of distilling oil that could be found leaching to the surface into kerosene for lamps in 1850. Entrepreneurs quickly understood that a dedicated process of drilling for oil (developed from water well drilling that had accidentally hit oil) could be profitable.
As early as 1865, the first fracking technology was patented to produce well water. “Robert’s Exploding Torpedo” was essentially a perf gun used to explode rock downhole to release ground water.
The oil boom began with Gusher Age in Texas at the turn of the 19th century with the Spindletop region discovery. At that time, they drilled until they hit a pressure pocket of oil that resulted in a blowout. They’d then fight to cap and control the well.
It was the invention of the automobile in 1885 and that industry’s subsequent boom with Ford’s mass produced Model T beginning in 1908 that led to a growing demand for oil. From the 1,000 barrel a day production in 1860, by 1900, the U.S. was producing 174,000 barrels a day. As of mid-2019, the U.S. is producing 12 million barrels a day.
What was the most significant event in the history of U.S. oil production? Arguably, it was the invention of the internal combustion engine in 1872 which would eventually transform the oil industry from a provider of lamp oil to a provider of fuels that move the world.